It was peak pandemic when the group of friends, Jason Segel, Andrew Kebol Walker, Justin Lader, and Charlie McDowell came together to develop a thriller on a Zoom call. The quartet was looking for a way to channel their creative energy and create something small but “safely”. That’s how Windfall, a Netflix thriller set in one location, came into existence.
Starring Lily Collins and Jesse Plemons as a couple who move to a vacation home only to find a burglar. That burglar is none other than Jason Segel. He takes them hostage and demands money. Pretty simple, right? But the more you watch, you’ll realize it isn’t so straightforward.
Jason pitched the original idea and it was developed and fleshed out further. Justin and Walker together wrote the actual screenplay, while Charlie was behind the lens. They followed the same method that is used to write plays. With the help of the writers, Jason and Charlie visited the filming location and showed the entire layout to Justin and Walker.
Justin: We just really didn’t want to tip the scales so the audience would root for one person above the others
None of the characters in Windfall can be classified as pure black and white. Lader and the rest of the writers agreed to keep them morally grey. The layered characters make the thriller a fascinating watch. Moreover, the characters have no names. That wasn’t a mistake, but a creative decision. “Calling him (Jason) Nobody so defined him as the way he was seen, and it only made sense to go and just make every person nameless.” In a similar fashion, Collins is just the “wife” and Plemons is the “CEO”.
Windfall on Netflix marks Lader and Charlie’s third collaboration
The pair had previously worked on The One I Love and The Discovery. Their 2020 development plans fell through before they started working on the Netflix movie. The two have a great camaraderie and Lader even calls Charlie one of his best friends. While it was fun for Justin, it was a new experience for Walker.
Walker said, “You go into anyone pitching an idea, you’re going, ‘It’s their idea. How am I going to get my head around it?’”
“And much to my chagrin, as we built the story I got more and more excited about the fact that this would actually be something I would be interested in participating in and trying to contribute to,” he further added.